The Silver Stars awarded to Army special operators since the Sept. 11 terror attacks offer a rare glimpse of soldiers on secret missions risking their lives again and again to rescue comrades in battles against militants in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Until now, their heroism has been known only to a small circle. The awards, due to their sensitive, secretive nature of their missions, were bestowed without public notice. The Army released to USA TODAY 12 of 41 the narratives associated with the Silver Stars, the third-highest medal granted for heroism. U.S. Special Operations Command refused to divulge the remainder “to protect military plans, weapons systems or operations.”